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Volume 24 No. 155

Marketing and Sponsorship

Marketing rights to 33 college bowl games “will be available to sponsors from one source for the first time under an agreement reached by the Football Bowl Association and FishBait Marketing,” according to Michael Smith of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. By aggregating the marketing rights “to all but two of the bowl games in college football’s postseason, FishBait will go to market with the ability to sell corporate sponsorships that stretch across nearly all of the bowls.” It is a “one-stop shop model that’s never been tried in the bowl space.” Florida Citrus Sports CEO and FBA Chair Steve Hogan said, “It’s something that many of us in the bowl space have been talking about for years. … Much like we’ve seen with the PGA Tour, there’s power in numbers. We needed to combine our rights. It’s the only way for sponsors to be able to do one deal and have a footprint that stretches across the postseason.” South Carolina-based FishBait will "go to market with the rights to 33 of the 35 bowl games and the ability to sell across them.” The Rose Bowl and the Pinstripe Bowl “are the two that didn’t jump onboard.” Sponsors of the Yankees “already enjoy rights to the Pinstripe Bowl,” while the Tournament of Roses control most of the rights to the Rose Bowl. Smith reports talks with both bowls are ongoing, but each will “continue to sell its own title rights, unless it strikes a separate agreement with FishBait.” ESPN has the marketing rights “to the BCS bowls -- Fiesta, Orange, Rose, Sugar and the national championship game.” The net “will retain those title sponsorship rights, but FishBait will be able to sell corporate sponsorship packages into those games as long as the categories don’t conflict.” FishBait CEO Rick Jones said that his agency and the FBA have “identified 30 categories that they will target, everything from consumer packaged goods to tires, home improvement retailers, rental car agencies, travel websites, sports bars, recreational vehicles, arcades, mutual funds, sporting goods stores and motion picture studios.” FishBait has “set a goal of selling six of the categories for the 2012 bowl season and six more for the 2013 season, for a total of 12 categories in two years” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/14 issue).

Beiersdorf AG (BEI)’s Aquaphor skin care lotion “will be the new title sponsor of the New York City Triathlon as part of a three-year agreement with the sport’s most expensive Olympic-distance race,” according to Michael Buteau of BLOOMBERG NEWS. Korff Enterpises Inc. has staged the race since ’01, and company President John Korff said that the new title sponsorship "will help offset about $1.8 million in annual costs to stage the race.” That price rose about $250,000 this year “to pay for staging costs, including service charges by the city’s police and parks departments.” The city covered those fees in previous years. Aquaphor Dir of Marketing Magnus Jonsson said that the company will use the N.Y. race "as a testing ground for possible sponsorship of other triathlons.” Korff said that the title sponsorship “includes an option for a three-year renewal after 2014.” Aquaphor will “also sponsor boxer Laila Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali, as she trains and competes in the event.” The event’s previous title sponsor, Nautica Enterprises Inc., “chose not to renew its sponsorship after the 2011 race” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 5/11). Korff said that Aquaphor is "paying more than the previous sponsor, Nautica.” Korff: “The product is very relevant if you’re a runner, a biker or a swimmer”
(, 5/11). Leverage Agency, N.Y., brokered the deal between Beiersdorf and Korff (THE DAILY).

Financial-services companies are “gearing up to be big players” in the London Games, as Citigroup, TD Ameritrade and Visa are all “competing for consumers' attention," according to Rich Thomaselli of AD AGE. Citi is “clearly putting heft behind its ‘Every Step of the Way’ campaign.” The effort debuts today and is “billed as the largest and most cohesive U.S. sponsorship in the company's history.” The campaign will be “executed in TV ads and in print, as well as in Citi branches and on ATM screens.” There will be “online and digital advertising, event marketing and a ‘wrap’ of the MetLife Building in New York, and similar building-branding in other cities.” The campaign launch includes “more than 100 print and online elements.” As part of the program, consumers will “help allocate, via social media, Citi's $500,000 donation to community sports programs that inspired and were integral to the success” of the 13 U.S. Olympic athletes that compose "Team Citi." Nine TV spots will air in N.Y., L.A., S.F., Miami, Chicago and DC throughout the games. Publicis Groupe handled the creative for the Citi campaign. Meanwhile, Visa “broke its Olympic activation, centered on social media, last week.” The campaign “encourages fans to support their favorite athletes by posting comments and videos on the company's Facebook page and YouTube channel.” TD Ameritrade “signed a deal with the USOC in the online-broker category last year, and its campaign for the Special Olympics" also breaks today. An effort from professional-services sponsor Deloitte “is coming soon, though details are still under wraps” (, 5/13).

Nationals RF Bryce Harper and Redskins QB Robert Griffin III "show promise of becoming marketing stars -- and the rush is on for companies hoping to profit from their reflected glory," according to Ben Fischer of the WASHINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL. Experts said that Griffin is the "more obvious pick for endorsement stardom." As a Heisman Trophy winner "playing the most prominent position in the most popular team sport, Griffin has a more natural path to major, national endorsement deals -- he has four already -- and local companies will have to resort to creativity and targeted pitches to get his attention." Meanwhile, Harper faces an "uphill climb to elite endorsement levels." Despite all his "electricity and braggadocio, Harper plays a 'just-one-of-the-guys' position in a sport whose fan base is older and whiter than is ideal for marketers targeting key consumer demographics." For different reasons, it is "unlikely to see either strike new deals right away." Griffin has deals with adidas, Subway, EA Sports and Gatorade, and CAA's Mark Heligman, who reps Griffin, said that calls "continue to come in, from both national and local interests." Heligman said that there is "no hard cap to how many deals Griffin might sign ... but considerations will be limited to deals that don't interfere with the Redskins' preparations" for the '12 season. Fischer reports endorsements "may be premature" for the 19-year-old Harper, as there is "more downside to hitching your brand to someone so young." Harper got "tagged with a reputation for arrogance before he even turned professional, and his advisers may be telling him to keep a low profile until he's more established." George Washington Univ. sports management professor Lisa Delpy Neirotti said that local companies looking to "lock down Griffin or Harper should expect to pay a minimum of $10,000 for a one-off appearance or specific endorsement." Williams Whittle CEO Rob Whittle said that a "more extensive annual contract would range from $75,000 to $200,000." However, that sum "is routinely paid through in-kind auto leases, cellular phone deals or other considerations" (WASHINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/11 issue).

HOMETOWN HERO: In Las Vegas, Chris Sieroty notes local marketing execs said that Harper's marketing potential "is limitless -- and his earning power from endorsements could run to eight-figures per year." Harper, a native of Las Vegas, already has a deal "with Athlete Promotions for speaking engagements, and an endorsement deal with sportswear maker Under Armour." Las Vegas-based Idea Factory Owner Scott Scarborough said Harper's marketing and advertising potential can be a "notch below Michael Jordan and a notch above LeBron James." Scarborough added, "His visibility from television alone is amazing. When was the last time you saw MLB Network or ESPN cut into regular programming to show (a player's) at-bats?" Las Vegas-based Kirvin Doak Communications Partner Dave Kirvin said that Harper is "what baseball desperately needs -- a potential superstar to tap into a younger demographic, many of whom prefer the NFL or the NBA to baseball." Meanwhile, Kirvin and Scarborough both agree Harper's endorsement value in Las Vegas "is limited because of his hometown's connection to the gambling industry" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/14).